“Change is coming.”

Ed Lee
Dec 12, 2012

A major theme for 2013 is “Change is coming.” This was discussed at InfoTrends’ Digital Imaging Conference in Tokyo Japan on December 5th. The challenge posed to conference attendees and the imaging industry was “Are you prepared?”

A new era in imaging is emerging. As a result, InfoTrends expects that there will be tremendous changes in the coming years in how consumers interact with and use their photos and videos. These changes will affect all aspects of the market, including products, consumer behaviors, services, and the vendors.

Image capture and viewing products are changing. Image capture started out with digital cameras, and then came mobile phones.

Tablet and smartphone photographers

Now tablets have entered the mix and they are changing how people capture and view photos and videos. Regardless of how odd it may seem, it is becoming a common sight to see someone taking a photo or video with a tablet now. Looking forward towards future products, imaging devices that were once reserved for science fiction movies, such as wearable cameras, like Google Glass, will be coming to the market soon. These devices will really change the image capture device market and how consumers capture photos and videos.

Consumer behaviors are changing. Digital cameras are still the most commonly used camera (57%), but the share of people who use their mobile phones most often has grown to 37% this year, from 11% in 2007. For many consumers, smartphones are becoming the camera for everyday pictures; nevertheless digital cameras continue to be used to capture those precious moments in life. InfoTrends expects that cameras and phones will co-exist for the foreseeable future.

Billions of images are taken each year worldwide. InfoTrends predicts that the number of images saved worldwide will grow from 1.6 trillion images in 2013 to 3.0 trillion in 2016. This means that the services that help consumers manage, organize, and retrieve their photos and videos are becoming much more important. Many established vendors and startup companies are tackling this issue and we will see a number of different solutions come to market in the coming year. With recent natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy, consumers are finding out how vulnerable their memories are.

The industry is undergoing significant changes as traditional photography companies go away and new non-traditional players rise to dominate the space. In recent years, film companies, like Kodak, have given way to digital camera companies (Canon, Nikon). Now digital camera companies are being threatened by mobile phone and consumer electronics companies (Apple, Samsung), and non-traditional players like social networking services (Facebook) and Internet companies (Google) are jumping into the space and shaping future product and consumer behavior directions.

Two keys messages for 2013 are:

  1. Now is the time to prepare for the upcoming changes. Vendors need to choose which segments of the digital imaging ecosystem they will participate and lead in.
  2. The trillions of images saved offer great opportunities for software vendors, display makers, output vendors, and storage companies. Those companies who present themselves as “image geniuses” and help consumers do more with their images will be able to best monetize this growing opportunity.




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